One month ago, lay leaders, professionals and students gathered to celebrate the opening of Hillel in Haifa, the fifth Hillel in the country. Inbar Bluzer, a recent Hillel-Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and five surrounding colleges, was tapped to serve as its first director. Just two weeks into the job, Bluzer had to adjust her priorities when rockets hit her city.
Both Haifa University and the Technion temporarily closed due to shelling from Hezbollah outposts in Lebanon. Meetings were canceled, exams were postponed and construction on the new Hillel building was halted.
"So I think I’ll take care of other business, like meetings I need to have in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beer Sheva," she said.
The violence in the north has touched the Hillel community in different ways. Hillel professionals have seen their homes and families in the crosshairs of the rockets. Israeli students have interrupted their studies to return to their army posts. 200 foreign students have been relocated from their Hebrew language immersion course at Haifa University to the safer Hebrew University.
Jerusalem resident Esther Abramowitz, director of Student Life in Israel, found herself playing host to Haifa University student Judith Stauber, the executive director of Hillel in New Mexico. "All I know in the core of my being is that we will take care of each other the best we can and give each other strength," Esther writes. Read More in 'Love from Esther in Jerusalem." >>
"These are difficult days for our people and yet, in the 21 years since my family moved to Israel, I can't remember a time when there was such a coming together and unanimity as to what must be done to protect our citizens and country," said Yossie Goldman, associate vice president, director Hillel Israel. "There is a clear realization that terrorism must be defeated and uprooted at all costs, or it will ultimately render life on this land impossible."